Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled

12th May 2022

Usually, we try to explore offbeat locations during our holidays. Rohtang Pass was a rare event though we had a great time and you can read about it here. On a bright sunny day, and luckily very clear, we set out to Keylong - a 2-hour drive from our accommodation in Manali.

We were looking forward to going through the colossal and historic Atal Tunnel. It is an engineering marvel and shortens the journey between Manali and Kelong by a whole 71 kilometers (yes, that's right!), effectively saving more than two hours travel time on the Manali - Leh highway. The 9-kilometre drive was smooth and was over in a jiffy.

At the other side of the tunnel lied pristine beauty! Snow-peaked mountains, blue skies (special mention to all Delhiites and other unfortunate urban city folks), majestic barren lands, sparkling rivers curving gently through the valley and the refreshing smell of the mountains - that's how we will describe the Lahaul & Spiti Valley. The unmatched landscape left us awestruck It was almost like as if the Atal Tunnel served as the gateway to a parallel world - an uninhabited one.

Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 1/6 by Salman & Fatima
The panoramic view of the snow-peaked mountains peppered with barren lands is enchanting
Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 2/6 by Salman & Fatima

The roads deserve a special mention - very smooth and most importantly wide. We had to pay a 200-rupee road tax to use it which was worth every penny! There weren't many places to eat along the highway so it is recommended that you carry drinks and snacks.

Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 3/6 by Salman & Fatima
Although there were a few rough patches along the way but the road largely was smooth

After getting past another small town, and a very popular one named Sissu, we realized there isn't much to do in Keylong (apart from glaring at the scenic beauty obviously!). Despite the negative connotation of Friday the 13th (yes, that's what the date read on my smart watch. Superstitious much?!), we decided to go to Deepak Tal which was a good 80-minute drive from Keylong.

Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 4/6 by Salman & Fatima
The pristine Chenab river - one of the five major rivers of the Punjab region

The Tal is literally in a middle of nowhere. But that nowhere is an emerald paradise. We never stopped clicking pictures! The scenery was amazing and thankfully, there were no cafes or restaurants to spoil the purity of the place. After spending a quiet 30 minutes, we headed back to our accommodation which was a good three and a bit of hours drive. We were tempted to drive further up to Baralacha Pass but the 70-minute drive was a put off. One of us had a zoom call scheduled which made us decide against the idea.

Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 5/6 by Salman & Fatima
Never seen water quite as blue. Deepak Tal was the icing on the cake

As we drove back, the views kept our spirits high which was much needed after a long and tiring day.

Photo of Lahaul & Spiti Valley, the road less travelled 6/6 by Salman & Fatima
The sound of water gushing through the valley will soothe you

Read more about our 11-day holiday in Himachal Pradesh

Rohtang Pass and Beyond